Here’s what is sinking in for me this morning, the day after Election Day 2016. No matter which of the main party candidates we chose, a large majority of us was not going to trust him or her to lead the country. Now we are tempted to continue lecturing and shaming one another on why we all “should” trust or distrust one or the other candidate or party. But “should-ing” on people doesn’t build trust, it worsens the distrust. The more we do that, the more unsafe political discussions become.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” (1 Cor. 12:21)
We cannot thrive, individually or as a culture, without healthy political conversations. We are “one body,” as Christian theology describes our need for one another. Until we begin to solve the problem of distrust, healing is impossible – personally and socially. This is a very hard problem. If it is to be solved, it starts in our hearts, ears, tongues, homes and neighborhoods. Changing the world always starts there.
In terms of human history, we are extraordinarily isolated people. We are disconnected physically, emotionally and spiritually. No wonder a great political gulf has opened up.
Twelve years ago on November 10th, a member of my extended family, a U.S. Marine, was killed in action in Fallujah. That night, in the midst of grief, I decided to pledge to myself to refrain from blaming the politicians I was tempted to criticize. I believe that began to make me a safer person to talk to about politics. I hope and pray that many choose a similar path.
I choose not to be defined by what I am against, but by what I am for and Who is for me.